Repeated drunk driving is seen as a very serious offense by the state of Georgia. If you have previously been convicted of a DUI and are facing charges for the second time, the mere fact that you have a previous conviction will not be counted against you in a determination of guilt, but this conviction will affect the penalties you face. A DUI charge will only be counted as your "second" charge if it occurs within a 10 year period of your previous conviction. For purposes of sentencing, a plea of nolo contendere is viewed the same as a conviction. If more than 10 years has lapsed, this will be treated as a first offense for purposes of sentencing. It is important to note that this time period will be measured starting at the date you were arrested for DUI (not the date you were convicted or entered a plea) to the date of your subsequent DUI arrest. Also, these penalties are for drivers over the age of 21. Penalties for multiple DUIs are different if drivers are under the age of 21.
The Range of Penalties for a Second Atlanta DUI
The maximum penalties for a second offense DUI include one year in jail, a fine of $1,000, completion of 30 days (240 hours) or more of community service, completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program, clinical evaluation for alcohol and/or drug abuse and completion of substance abuse treatment, if recommended by the clinical evaluator, a period of probation of up to 12 months following a period of incarceration, suspension of your driver's license for up to eighteen months. Additionally, your name, photograph, and the details of your arrest and conviction will be published in your local newspaper and your license will have a red stripe on top of it. This stripe will remain on your license for 7 years.
The minimum penalties for a second offense DUI within a ten year period from the first offense include 72 hours in jail, a fine of $600, and suspension of your driver's license for a period up to a year. The information about your crime (name, photograph, your residential zip code and the details of your arrest and conviction) will be published in your local newspaper. Additionally, your license will have a red stripe at the top. This stripe will remain on your license for 7 years.
The legal community considers repeat drunk driving offenses to be a very serious matter, though often times the punishment given will can be closer to the minimum if mitigating factors have been presented to the court. Mitigating factors can include the time which has elapsed between your DUI convictions (a court may consider nine years between arrests in a different light than nine months), the circumstances of your arrest (such as whether or not you were charged with an additional crime), your criminal history, and any other relevant other factors.
It is difficult to make an estimation of the penalties any one driver may face for a second DUI as these penalties are so significantly affected by case-by-case circumstances. If you are facing charges for a second DUI, please contact me. When we speak, we will examine the particularities of your case. This will allow you to gain a clear understanding of what you might face if convicted. We will then craft a legal strategy to maximize the potential that any penalties you may receive will be as close as possible to the statutory minimum. We will also plan for mitigating the effect these penalties will have on your life, such as requesting that the judge hand down an alternate punishment, such as house arrest or electronic monitoring. If you are facing charges for a second DUI, please contact me as soon as possible so that we can make sure that no deadlines are missed, no rights are forfeited, and, if we choose to work together, I can immediately begin advocating for your best possible outcome.